Paris Marathon 2012 – finished!

Another medal for the collection – and it matches the finishers’ T-shirt

So how was your Sunday morning? Mine was great, thanks. I ran the 2012 Paris Marathon in 3 hours, 32 minutes and 10 seconds – my second-fastest time of my five marathons to date.

I had been hoping to go sub-3:30 but I’m happy with my time and performance. An 8-minute mile pace was always going to be hard work for me, and I’m glad that I stuck with it until mile 24. After that, I was driving on fumes and feeling a bit light-headed, but I hung in for the finish.

The weather in Paris was perfect for marathon running – well, for me at least; a cool morning with cloud cover and a light breeze. Unfortunately, the atmosphere on the streets of Paris was just as cool, with the usual low and muted turnout.

My race plan was simple – I would sit in behind a 3:30 marker runner for the whole route. Four of them lined up at the start, so I picked the one furthest to the front and made up a group of a dozen runners going at a steady rhythm. All went well until at 8 miles, through the parkland of the Bois de Vincennes, our spiritual leader suddenly shot ahead and turned off the road – to relieve himself. We all laughed and cheered – and then realised we were lost and leaderless; what would we do now? Fortunately, our pace maker rejoined us soon afterwards.

In my last marathon, in Dublin in October, I got to 20 miles before I faded. Today, however, I was still in touch with the 3:30 group going through 20 and on to 23 miles. My carb loading and reduced training mileage had obviously worked well – added to my mental determination to run strong beyond 20 miles. At mile 24, though, I had reached my limit and from there it was just a matter of keeping the legs turning until the finish.

Strangely, I didn’t see the other 3:30 markers pass me so it seems they finished outside that time – wouldn’t you be unhappy if you were counting on them to bring you in under that landmark time?

Anyway, this evening I’m feeling a little stiff but happy. It hasn’t sunk in that I’ve actually done this race to which I devoted months of mental and physical preparation. For the next week my life may feel a little empty but I’ll fill that void with some well-deserved rest and recuperation.

And then I’ll start thinking of the Dublin Marathon on 26 October!

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5 Responses to Paris Marathon 2012 – finished!

  1. Koji Kawano says:

    Congratulations! Nice race report, too! I am going to write up my race report after I get home. BTW, that’s a real cute medal! Have a nice and restful week!

  2. Richard says:

    The other 3:30 markers would still (I suspect) get in in 3:30 as they would have passed the start line later than you. I was in a much slower group so saw all the pens in front being staggered out, including the pace markers.

    This was my first marathon and it didn’t go as well as yours. I’d trained hard for months but got cramp at about 16 miles that hampered me. I wanted a time of between 4:15-4:30 and ended up with 4:37, so considering I was hampered for the last 10 miles I was quite pleased, probably shows I set off too quick but I’ve learnt a lot from it.

    • Run and Jump says:

      Well done on finishing your first marathon! You did well to hang in to the end, so you should take heart from that for the next time.

      The other 3:30 markers didn’t start too far behind me, perhaps 2 minutes at most, and I’m sure I saw at least one of them (apart from the one I was following) behind me during the Bois de Vincennes section. I’d still like to see proof that all four came in under 3:30…

      • Richard says:

        Thanks, looking back I can’t quite believe I did hang in for that long considering the pain but I think my mind might have been playing tricks a little and I was probably better than it felt at the time. Not sure there will be a next time though!

        Would be good to see how close all the markers were to their allocated pace.

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